Specialist Certificate: English as a Second Language (ESL)

There is a growing demand for educators qualified to teach English as a Second Language. Seize this opportunity to pursue an exciting new career in the classroom!

Penn State Wilkes-Barre offers an innovative Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) program for educators who wish to be ESL-certified instructors in Pennsylvania. Upon completion of this accelerated 15-credit (5 course) certificate program, you will have:

  • earned the ESL Program Specialist Certificate from Penn State
  • gained 15 credits towards a PDE Instruction Level II certification
  • satisfied Pennsylvania Act 48 requirements (PA Act 48 approved)

Program Benefits

  • Program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the ESL Program Specialist Certificate
  • All courses are taught remotely via Zoom
  • Program lets you meet your Act 48 requirements
  • The accelerated format helps you complete the certificate rapidly
  • Courses can be applied toward a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language

Required Courses

WLED 444: Language, Culture, and the Classroom (June 24–June 28, 2024. Actual meeting dates: 6/24, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27, and 6/28)

This course will examine issues of language and culture in the classroom. Focus will be placed on developing cross-cultural competence (in the classroom, with families, etc.). This course is intended to provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on the mutual impact of language and culture in the learning experiences of language minority students. (3 credits)

APLNG 484: Functional Discourse Grammar (July 22–July 26, 2024. Actual meeting dates: 7/22, 7/23, 7/24, 7/25, and 7/26)

This course is designed to provide an overview of the structure of the English language through a functional/discourse analytical approach to linguistic analysis. Grammar is viewed as holistic and dynamic in the sense that grammar and grammatical forms are intricately related to speaker stance, cognition, and interaction. (3 credits)

WLED 400: Foundations of Language in Second Language Teaching 

This course is designed to give second language teachers a critical understanding of basic concepts and principles in second language acquisition and teaching. The core of the course explicates processes of language acquisition viewed from major theories of first and second language acquisition and common issues within these major theories are presented and debated. (3 credits)

WLED 483: Evaluating Performances & Programs with English Language Learners 

The course will highlight school support services for ESL students such as intake or initial screening; Local Educational Agency (LEA) systems for ESL students at risk of learning difficulties; Instructional Support Teams (IST); school support policies for the protection of ESL students in IST/staffing; and LEA models for providing instruction in inclusive settings. (3 credits)

APLNG 493: Teaching English as a Second Language 

This course focuses on the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. Specifically, the course explores the multi-dimensional nature of the teacher as a learner of teaching, the contexts within which teaching occurs, and the activities and content of second language teaching and learning. (3 credits)

Class Times

Fall and spring classes run on a weekend format: Friday: 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sunday: 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Summer classes run during the week: Monday–Thursday: 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Who Should Attend?

Teachers who hold a Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate and currently have an ESL teaching assignment or desire one in the future.

Admission to Certificate Programs

This is a post-baccalaureate certificate designed specifically for people working in education. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required to enroll in this certificate. If you are interested in enrolling, you will need to apply for the certificate by visiting the Graduate School online.

Eligibility and Tuition

Teachers who hold an Instructional Level I or II certification are eligible to enroll.

Enrolled students will be paying rates currently charged by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) $516 per credit. Tuition reimbursement from your employer is accepted with verification of eligibility.

Location and Delivery

All courses are held remotely via Zoom, by instructors with over 20 years of ESL educational experience and instruction. Fall and spring classes are held in an accelerated weekend format; summer classes are held during the day for one week.

For More Information

For more information or to register, contact Continuing Education at 570‑675-9253 or [email protected].